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The Rachel Maddow Show

News/Business. (2011) New.

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01:00:00

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U.s. 22, Wisconsin 18, Libya 16, Us 14, America 10, Yemen 7, Gadhafi 7, George W. Bush 7, Randy Hopper 4, Sharron 4, Washington 4, United States 4, Biden 3, David Duke 3, Stephen 3, Richard Engel 3, Hopper 3, Newt Gingrich 3, Mr. Obama 3, Clinton 3,
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  MSNBC    The Rachel Maddow Show    News/Business.  (2011) New.  

    March 21, 2011
    9:00 - 10:00pm EDT  

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getting the money from the state. >> they will be number one in how early the kids get out of school. ed schultz, the ed show coming up at 10:00 eastern. you can have the last word online or at our blog. you can follow my tweets at lawrence. "the rachel maddow show" is next. good evening. >> good evening, lawrence. thank you at home for staying with us the next hour. in the united states of america, we are used to thinking of ourselves as a super power, as a world leader, as a country capable of throwing our weight around when we feel the need to. that's really only when you take a step back, take sort of a wide historical view that you realize one of the consequences of that self image, that self concept is that we end up feeling that need to throw our weight around quite a lot. we go to war all the time. big wars, little wars, medium sized wars, weird wars, normal wars, wars. america as a country fights a lot of wars.
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>> the participation of american forces in beirut will again be for a limited period, but i concluded there is no alternative to their returning to lebanon if they have a chance to stand on their feet. grenada was a friendly island paradise for tourism. it was ready to export terror and undermine democracy. we got there just in time. at 7:00 this evening eastern time, air and naval forces of the united states launched a series of strikes against the headquarters, terrorist facilities and military assets that support moammar gadhafi's subversive activities. >> just two hours ago, allied air forces began an attack on military targets in iraq and kuwait. these attacks continue as i speak. >> let me say at the outset, america's role will not be about fighting a war.
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it will be about helping the people of bosnia to secure their own peace agreement. our mission will be limited, focused, and under the command of an american general. >> on my orders, the united states military has begun strikes against al qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the taliban regime in afghanistan. >> my fellow citizens, at this hour, american and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger. >> you know, those were just the ones they announced. we did those chronologically starting with ronald reagan in 1982. presidents making oval office announcements about u.s. wars, about u.s. military interventions. some of them amounting to small wars, some amounting to very large wars. now that the united states has embarked on its latest new military intervention in libya, i would love to be able to show
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you the current president's oval office address on the subject, but there isn't one. president obama did make a public statement saturday afternoon that we had started that military intervention in libya, but did so from the confines of a convention center in brazil. eight years to the day that george w. bush stared unsteadily into the camera and announced the iraq invasion, president obama announced his own military intervention, but pointedly declined the opportunity to do it in a way that u.s. presidents usually do. president obama taking all sorts of criticism from the right over the past few days for not cancelling his trade visit to latin america as a result of this military action in libya. and the white house knew that criticism would come. their decision to go ahead with the trip anyway, to forego the chest thumping commander in chief theater that goes with military intervention of any kind, that is a fascinating and
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blunt demonstration of how much this presidency is not like that of george w. bush. do you remember when george w. bush campaigned for president by saying he wanted america to have a humble foreign policy? candidates for presidency love to say stuff like that. >> i just don't think it is the role of the united states to walk into a country and say we do it this way, so should you. i think the united states must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course. >> candidates always say stuff like that when running for president because americans like that idea. americans like to vote for that idea, no matter who says it. we like that kind of talk and expect it from presidential candidates. the idea of restrained foreign policy. no intervention unless you have to. >> nobody wants to be the war president. i want to be the peace president. >> i am not going to commit u.s.
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forces until i know what the mission is, 'til the military tell me it can be completed, and 'til they tell me how it can come out. >> i know in my heart our first priority must be world peace, and that use of force should be used only as a last resort when everything else failed. >> these guys always say that. they always say they only want to use force as a last resort. they are supervisory luck tant to use the military, but then they get into it, it is big, medium, all sorts of wars, all the time f you time line the last 30 years, it is easier to time line times we weren't at war than to block out times we were. and regardless of all of the reluctant warrior i want to be a peace president talk, once they get us into wars, presidential chest thumping, trying to
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convert wars into political capital is a fine art. >> take necessary to defend our country, given the choice, i defend america every time. >> george w. bush running for re-election in 2004. remember all of that, because we acted, the dictator, brutal tie rant is in a prison cell. that's how he ran for election in 2004. the george bush that ran in 2000 promised a humble america, humble foreign policy, bend over backwards military intervention. a candidate named barack obama promised that. the difference with mr. obama as president is that he appears to be walking more of that walk as well as talking that talk. mr. obama not making oval office address to the nation, repeatedly stressing the limit of u.s. involvement, promising no ground troops in libya, no
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matter what, leaving the question of intervention until a un security council resolution could be passed and then following that un security council decision, the white house overtly acknowledging, making widely known it sees france, britain, arab countries in the lead here. the u.s. waiting for clear international consensus before doing anything on our own, letting others make this more their war than our war. this is what president obama promised as a candidate he would do. it is frankly what most presidential candidates promised as candidates they would do. the fact he is actually doing it as president is freaking out all core dors of the political world that liked the chest thumping triathlon stuff. >> i could hear the -- we don't have it. the funny thing, with that sound bite, i hear it whispering in my ear. lindsey graham saying this
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weekend i am worried we are taking a back seat rather than a leadership role. we used to relish leading the free world. now it is like almost leading the free world is an inconvenience. i think the president caveated this way too much, lk like it is a nuisance. lindsey graham speaking on fox news yesterday. would be republican candidate newt gingrich said president obama's position on libya makes him a, quote, spectator in chief instead of commander in chief. rick santorum saying the french were the first ones out there. he's following the lead. think about the big picture, what the presidential candidates campaigned on and the legacy of george w. bush. do you want the narrative of america's role in the world to be america leads western aggression against arab countries or don't you want that? do you want that continue to be the master narrative about
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america's role in the world, or do you want it to be different? president obama wants the narrative to be something different. he clearly did not want there to be another american military action in the arab world. he is very open about his reluctance. he wants everybody to know how reluctant he was. the white house keeps broadcasting that. why are they do that? because they want the narrative to change. everything about the character of the intervention shows mr. obama's reluctance. the u.s. commander in the region reporting today u.s. air missions over libya decreased dramatically today. he says the overwhelming number of missions were flown by nonu.s. pilots. u.s. officials going out of their way to point that out. defense secretary robert gates saying i expect us very soon to receive back into a supporting role with other nations carrying most of the burden. president obama repeatedly insisting not only will there not be ground troops involved from the u.s., but the bulk of
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our involvement will end very quickly. >> let me emphasize that we anticipate this transition to take place in a matter of days, not a matter of weeks. >> days, and not weeks. there was also news today that the direct involvement from president obama and vice president biden involved personal, direct communication between them and the leaders of our arab countries in the region specifically. again, trying to change the narrative that america leads western aggression against the arab world. trying to force to the forefront of the war the arab countries that on march 12th called for a no-fly zone to be enforced in the first place. after the arab league criticized the intervention they called for this weekend, the obama and biden diplomacy appears to have paid dividends today. arab league now stating support for the mission, calling it an arab and nationalist duty. whether or not efforts to change that master narrative about u.s. aggression towards muslim
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countries are successful, whether or not change that long narrative can survive what is yet another u.s. military intervention in yet another muslim country, whether or not that narrative can change, even though this is now happening may depend how long the intervention lasts and what its consequences are, whether it works. what libya looks like when this is all over. joining us now for some insight into that, richard engel, nbc news chief foreign correspondent. thank you for joining us. appreciate having you here. >> reporter: always a pleasure. i am not in front of the camera, we are having some technical difficulties. i wish you had included in that long list of wars all of the wars associated with the war on terrorism as it is often called, the drone strikes in pakistan, the drone strikes in yemen, in somalia. the list goes on and on. >> when everybody started
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calling afghanistan the other war, ultimately iraq it is the war, and the others followed. there have been so many interventions. >> and now libya. >> now libya. and this master narrative, which mr. obama, president obama seems so resistant to. the idea the u.s. is eager to intervene in arab countries. do you see a strong difference between this, the character of this american intervention, and the other ones we just talked about, richard? >> well, i was sort of surprised. in the last several months, been touring the middle east, covering these revolts, and suddenly i woke up one morning, found myself covering an american war in libya. and it sort of came out of no place. i didn't see it coming. and i still look around and say how did i end up here covering an american military action in libya. i understand why it happened.
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there was this probably very real need for protection for the city of benghazi. gadhafi's troops were right on the edge of this city. they were going to go in, they were going to go hard, they were going to kill people. walking around today, there was tremendous sense of relief. people no longer feel terrified, don't worry gadhafi's troops will come in and slit throats for support. the rebels are now completely dependent on foreign military intervention. once you've given them air and ground support, and they believe they have an alliance with the united states military, how do you take that back without exposing them to the same sort of fear and real danger that they were exposed to before. >> richard, what kind of impact is the western intervention having on gadhafi's forces? the strategy, at least the declared strategy is to make
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things safe enough for the rebels that they can win on their own. do you see anything like that happening? that's going to be a tough one. these rebels are divided into two groups. they are the volunteers, and these rebels have really no military experience, very little sophistication, very little education. a lot of bravado, but we were with rebels that didn't know how to load weapons. they were dropping round of ammunition on the ground. a lot of them are fighting for weird conspiracy theories. one in five of the rebels today told me they are fighting because they think gadhafi is jewish. so they do not have the same ideals that americans think they do have. the other group of the rebels is people, units that defektd from gadhafi's army. if we're waiting for these
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defected units to go and storm the frontlines, we may have to be waiting a bit longer. i went looking for one of the top commanders here, actually the top commander, and we went to the military base and knocked on the door. he decided to take the day off. and i was shocked at that. you would think if the u.s. military had just joined your revolution, after two plus days, that this wouldn't be the time to go home and spend time with the family. >> unbelievable. richard, while i have, let me ask about one other country where developments are fast moving and dramatic. in yemen, the most senior military official sometimes seen as a rival to the president in that country, he and a number of other top generals have essentially defected to the opposition. dozens of protesters were shot dead, now this split in the military. is that the kind of shift in momentum that might be decisive
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against the government in yemen? >> yemen is big news right now. it is one of the places you're always looking over your shoulder. i am here, but maybe we should be in yemen. it is an amazing, fast moving story. the army has now been divided and on the streets, you had units loyal to this general and others that defected on patrol. you have a country with massive protests on the streets, military is divided. in the north of the country, there is a kind of civil war. in the south another war. there are so many divisions in yemen now, they are hard to keep track of. many people do believe that the country could be at a breaking point when there is a coup or action to change the political leadership. >> nbc news chief foreign
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correspondent, richard engel reporting from eastern libya. richard, i don't ever want to predict your travels, wherever you are going, stay safe. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. thank you. more to come from around the world as the news reads like a world atlas. libya, yemen, japan and more. also wisconsin and washington and louisiana. and sharron angle's kitchen in nevada. lots more to come. stay with us. new fixodent plus scope ingredients. cleans and kills germs that cause odors to your dentures. new fixodent cleanser plus scope ingredients. you've been stuck in the garage, while my sneezing and my itchy eyes took refuge from the dust in here and the pollen outside. but with 24-hour zyrtec®, i get prescription strength relief from my worst allergy symptoms. it's the brand allergists recommend most. ♪ lily and i are back on the road again.
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world financial markets came way back today, which indicates in part that the markets think japan's nuclear crisis is under control, which indicates that world markets maybe don't pay close attention to even the crises that freak them out. we do, and we will, coming up. also, the field of republican challenges to president obama in 2012 got 33 and a third percent bigger.
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and scott walker has a new problem on his hands and it is not about the budget either, it is about someone's girlfriend and someone's job. and that's coming up in a moment. please stay with us.
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united states congress declared war five times. that's it. precisely five times in u.s. history. world war i, world war ii, war of 1812, spanish american war and the mexican american war. think what a different country we would be if those were the only wars we ever had. when presidents send u.s. military forces abroad, very, very, very, very rarely and not in the last 60 years have they
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first had congress declare war. sometimes they have congress vote for an authorization for use of force. president george w. bush did that with iraq and afghanistan, which made for a lot of awkward primary debates among democrats running against george w. bush and his wars in the following two elections. but sometimes presidents order military interventions without declaration of war and without a declaration of an authorization for use of force, and that's what president obama has done in libya. after announcing friday that u.s. military force would be used in libya, the president sent a letter to congress today explaining the point of the operation and under what authority he ordered it. he describes the libyan operation as being in the national security and foreign policy interests of the united states. in the letter he reminds congress of his role as commander in chief and chief executive and says explicitly that he ordered the libyan military intervention, quote,
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pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct u.s. foreign relations. foreign relations? is that what we're calling it now? joining us now, steve clemons of the new foundation. does president obama's statement reflect a broad view of what a president can authorize or is this in keeping with how presidents act on things like this now. >> as you just pointed out, the last constitutionally correct war was 2002. the tug of war between the congress and the president over using and deploying military force and engaging in what you call police actions has been going on for decades. i think president obama has decided he is within the letter of the law. and i think last week when he changed course in which way he wanted to go in this, he did begin actively consulting with congress and moved that ball
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forward. as you said, he filed his letter today. >> the political right in this country appears to be somewhat split on this. some republicans saying we shouldn't have intervened at all, some saying we should have intervened more and earlier. some fox news hosts and newt gingrich trying to take both positions simultaneously, which is fun. but what about inside the administration? what was the argument for intervention that turned this around and won the day in washington? >> i think before this came up, i think president obama was studying every option and trying to look both at those that worried about having too big an american footprint in this, what the down side risk would be, but also looking at the humanitarian dimensions. they wanted to behave differently than in kosovo and ruwanda. when you saw a potential massacre, i think he said what he was doing wasn't enough, it wasn't deterring gadhafi. he changed course on a dime, and i think he was in control of it. this wasn't the boys versus
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girls, hillary clinton and susan rice versus biden. he wanted to save the people, but to do it in a minimal way so the western footprint was small. >> what role, though, did the state department, did secretary clinton play in the debate here. how important were they, how important was she and department of state in getting things to line up the way the president wanted to to do this intervention. >> she was hugely important and susan rice, but other players. what they did was an incredible diplomatic fete. you had five states not vote against. they would have been inclined to, despite that. i think the arab league, where they came out, they have come back, reinforced their position, is a huge diplomatic fete. i think they laid out the notion
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in the past with kosovo and ruwanda, getting international attention and consensus didn't take the weeks it has. it took months and months. so those that criticized the president for slow action aren't familiar with the history of past involvement in humanitarian causes. i still worry about the sense that the western footprint in this is too large, and that ultimately this needs to be the libyan people that take control of their own destiny. i think president obama is trying to provide a constructive, effective tilt. but i think hillary clinton did play a very important partnership role here. >> to hear that, to hear you articulate that crucial issue that, also crucial about the size of the western footprint and to hear richard engel essentially say he is not sure the libyan rebels have it in them to get this fight done is potentially a recipe for stasis, is it not?
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western powers are trying to make room for people that may or may not be capable of filling that space. >> no doubt, this is a gamble for the president. people look at whether gadhafi stays or goes as a measure of president obama's strength in the world and what he is able to achieve. i think richard's right. sometimes you have to be careful of joining oppositions that aren't really in a position to win. you can create a moral hazard problem of getting other people elsewhere that begin campaigns against their government, they are not quite ready. those inspiring protesters in egypt were on their game. they knew how to move their people, how to resuscitate themselves when people thought the air was coming out of the protest in egypt, they shocked everyone by showing up again. that may not always be the case. what i recently said, one of the uncomfortable truths in this, sometimes revolutions aren't won by the protesters. it is going to be a mixed bag in the middle east. hopefully we'll do okay in libya, but i have some doubts. >> steve clem ons of the new
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america foundation, publisher of the washington note, required reading. thanks for joining us. >> thank you, rachel. >> international events are overtaking domestic news. there is still good reason to talk about a pathetic clue cluks clans man and his connection to presidential politics. and there's a scandal in wisconsin related to the union scrubbing debacle and someone's girlfriend. sometimes the news is world changing and super crazy. ♪
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do you remember sharron angle, the republican everyone thought would beat harry reid for president? thursday, we reported sharron angle recorded an odd taped announcement she's running for congress now. that was thursday. today, i came back to work after the weekend to find that producer, trisha mckinney on the staff found on ebay the exact same kitchen cannisters that sharron angle used to make her running for congress announcement seem more homey. you can buy these at sears in the 1970s. they were from the merry mushroom series. now we have them ourselves, which i think forms a spectacular backdrop for our kickoff of our decision 2012 coverage. the republican party's race to find someone, anyone, to run
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against barack obama for the presidency. before today, there were precisely three candidates declared for that republican presidential inauguration. one named herman cain. he owns a pizza company. also fred karger, running on the gay rights hangup issue. then this incumbent that lost the prime rye to run for his own job to david duke. yes, that david duke. he lost to the klu klux klan guy. as of this morning, the entire field of republican contenders for 2012 consisted of the pizza guy, the republicans shouldn't be so anti-gay guy, and the i lost to david duke guy. but now today, we have a fourth contender. he has announced his presidential exploratory committee, so it is official and everything. we have a fourth man running. herman cain, fred karger, buddy roemer, and tim paw --
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[ snoring ] sorry. one more thing that has been somewhat confusing about the field of republican candidates for 2012. you may remember that newt gingrich sort of tried to aannounce that he was running, too. in the end, all he did announce was that to makeup his mind whether or not to run, he needed more money and time. in order to collect the time, money, mr. gingrich set up the awkwardly named website newtexplore2012. since newt explore is a creepy concept, someone snapped up the url explore newt 2012. when it was first launched, it automatically relutd to buddy roemer's site. he was the guy that lost to david duke. then it started to redirect to another whole thing. now it redirects to this youtube
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video showing newts eating stuff, little larva and stuff. explorenewt2012.com. and every hungry day between now and then as well. inside the 2011 dodge journey is an 8.4-inch touch screen that lets you control the stereo volume, radio tuning, climate controls, turn-by-turn navigation, and bluetooth activation -- technology inside technology controlling more technology. welcome to the future. now lease the new 2011 dodge journey mainstreet for $299 a month for well-qualified lessees.
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it takes knowing we have our work cut out for us. but if you run before the wind you can't take off. you've got to turn into it. the thing you push against lifts you up. so, every challenge is a chance to show that even in this crazy world of no liquids and route cancellations someone still has the passenger's back. and along the way we'll prove we're not just building a bigger airline we're building a better one.
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two things you need to know about the crisis in japan. one is bad weather. look at this. keep in mind because of the time difference even though it is monday night here, it is tuesday there. it has been raining in parts of japan, raining through tomorrow. forecast calls for winds to shift to blowing inland instead of out to sea. plus, it is getting really cold there. subfreezing temperatures at night. combinations of rain and snow in the day. the reason that's important in light of the disaster in japan is because it highlights the need for warm shelter among those whose homes were destroyed. hundreds of thousands are in temporary shelter already. in the event of radiation that may be diffuse in the atmosphere, rain and snow can be a means of delivering that radiation in a more concentrated form to the ground. so one is the weather. other thing to know about what's going on in japan is that the
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effort to stabilize reactors and radioactive spent fuel at the daiichi plant is facing new set backs, plural, set backs. a light gray smoke was seen emanating from reactor three, and white smoke from reactor two. they say what was coming from reactor two was steam. it caused a temporary evacuation of workers from the daiichi plant. "the washington post" reported that readings near the plant nearly tripled shortly after the smoke was seen at healthcare three. as workers continue to restore electrical power to the facility to get cooling systems up and running in the reactors and spent fuel pools, associated press reports that cooling systems that electrical power is supposed to be running at the reactors have been damaged. reactor two is the first one to have the power restored, but the key cooling system pumps are apparently not working, even though power is being supplied to them. it is unclear how long it will
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take for new pumps to arrive there. developments are still happening, sort of fast and furious in japan. the crisis is not over. joining us to understand this better, ed lyman from the union of concerned scientists. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> first, i have to ask you as i do regularly, did i get anything wrong in that description? >> no, it sounded pretty good to me. >> that's bad news whenever i ask you that. that's a drag. in terms of the rain and snow issue, people in need of shelter is the immediate concern there. in terms of radiation risk, if rain and snow is a means of delivering more concentrated doses essentially of diffuse radiation in the atmosphere, is there an increased health hazard from bad weather essentially in japan? >> well, it depends where the rainfalls, where the plume is. if there's still radiation being emitted from the site and rain close to the site or snow, it could cause more concentrated
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fallout closer to the site. now, it is a rural area, so that might actually be good news for a city like tokyo. however, if let's say weather conditions allow that plume to travel as far as tokyo, then the rain and snow hits, it could be bad news for tokyo. it is hard to predict. >> they were more dire, more pessimistic than statements from tepco and japanese officials. but today, u.s. officials started to sound more optimistic. one nrc official saying the plant may be on the verge of stability. from what you know, are you optimistic the threat will be resolved soon? >> i don't think so. i look at the same information as all of the authorities, it still looks like there's a rough road ahead. even if they restore full cooling to the reactors, i think there's a lot of uncertainty
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what will happen if the vessels are flooded with water again. the fuel has been exposed partially several days. that could cause degradation to the core in ways that aren't understood. if you pump water again, it could cause damage and make it harder to ultimately cool. >> i know this is not over, it is not time to step back from this, but we are having a review, 90 day review of u.s. nuclear facilities, then a larger comprehensive view. then a step back to look at what's happening. do you feel this uncovered a fundamental flaw, fundamental understatement of risk in reactor design and in disaster planning? >> yes. i would say that is our sense. i think in that era of complacency after three mile island, chernobyl, regulators in the industry may have become too comfortable with the idea we're never going to see that type of accident again, and i think
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that's influenced their decision making and their practices. i think they're going to have to take a fresh look how they made decisions over the last decade and where the safety margin to the extent we may be at risk at home. >> dr. ed lyman, at some point we will talk about happier things. so far it has been a bummer every time i talked to you. you really helped us, helped me understand it, and helped make it clearer to the audience and i am really grateful for that. >> thank you. congressman dennis kucinich is on "the ed show" tonight. he said president obama authorizing military action in libya without congress should be an impeachable offense. you don't want to miss him and ed going a few rounds on that after tonight's show. and the political news in wisconsin got weird today. that's coming up. much less tell you what it means. he doesn't know that his parents are counting on the money they pay in. or that the hard earned benefits
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the big soul of america politics fight in wisconsin is not over by a long shot. this weekend there was another crowd at the state capitol.
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there are allegations he doesn't live in that district he represents. where is it he allege he didly lives instead? an awkward question. turns out it is a really super awkward question. the strange, awkward details of that, how it ties into this fight in the states being the most important domestic story in american politics up next. even though i'm a great driver, and he's... not so much. well, for a driver like you, i would recommend our new snapshot discount.
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this is scott fitzgerald, a republican, the leader of the state senate in wisconsin. this is scott's brother, jeff. jeff is leader of the state assembly in wisconsin. and this is jeff and scott's dad, stephen. stephen used to be the u.s. marshal for the western district of wisconsin but when his term expired last year he ran for a local sheriff gig and lost which was particularly embarrassing because it was his old job he had previously been that sheriff but lost the election to get that job back by a lot, 2-1. ow. so stephen is rather embarrassed and he is jobless after that but he is also the dad of the guy who runs the state assembly and the dad of the guy who runs the state senate. so with friends in high places and the republican governor scott walker, mr. walker found a spot for him appointing him to lead the wisconsin state patrol. you may have seen a piece on this in "talking points" memo last week. the fond du lac reporter a newspaper in wisconsin pointed
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out that papa fitzgerald got that sweet job from governor walker even though he was the only finalist for the gig who came from outside the ranks of the wisconsin state patrol, itself. but you know that's how it is in wisconsin. scott fitzgerald leading the senate. jeff fitzgerald leading the assembly and stephen fitzgerald leading the wisconsin state patrol which i'm sure came in handy when the governor and the fitzgerald brothers wanted to threaten to use the state patrol for political purposes to go arrest and round up wisconsin's democrats who fled the state to stop the republicans' union stripping. that republican union stripping measure in wisconsin is still a nationally galvanizing force for democrats. support and enthusiasm among the democratic base still continues to build for pinning this union-stripping thing on the republican party nationally and for recalling republicans in wisconsin who pushed it through. it is in the midst of that effort into which another patronage hiring scandal appears to be blossoming today. it started actually a little bit more than a week ago when
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protesters showed up at the home of one of the republican state senators who is facing a recall. his name is randy hopper, state senator randy hopper. there was this strange detail in the local coverage of that protest at his house. people who were mad about the union stripping thing and wanted to protest it showed up at randy hopper's house and his wife came out of the house to address the protesters and told them that senator hopper no longer lived there. in fact, she said, he no longer lived in his district at all. he no longer lived in fond du lac. she told the protesters that senator hopper had left his senate district and now lives primarily in madison with his 20 something mistress. today wisconsin papers are all aflutter with news that despite wisconsin's alleged terrible budget crisis republican senator randy hopper's alleged girlfriend was able to land a sweet job in the walker administration getting what will amount to a $12,000 annualized pay raise over the person who had the job before her.
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senator hopper says he had nothing to do with her getting that job. he also says he is not living with her no matter what his wife says. apart from the awkwardness for the state senator in question there is also the big policy awkwardness of whether or not wisconsin state government is so broke because of all those greedy state employees, right? for the senator already facing the likely prospect of recall this is not a positive development but it is also really handy as a reminder about the whole nature of the fight in wisconsin and why it is resonating nationally. the republican justification for the union stripping business in wisconsin was that it was all about the budget, right? but then something like this comes along and we were all reminded if it were about the budget people hired by the state would not be getting $12,000 raises whether or not they were state senators' girlfriends. and you see this in the policy the republicans are pursuing. not everybody is taking a hit financially in these states pleading poverty. this is important. these republican governors and legislators all over the country keep saying they're broke, it's
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about the budget, it's about the budget, but they are being incredibly generous to some with their budgets whether it's state senators' girlfriends or the forces in our society to whom they would like to redirect what are now public assets. there are some people who are making out like bandits toward whom states pleading poverty are being incredibly generous lly profligate. in maine for example the governor wants to spend $30 million giving a tax cut to about 550 of the state's millionaires. in ohio house republicans say they want to spend $10 million to give the petroleum industry in their state a tax break. pennsylvania's republican governor wants to spend big on business as well. his tax proposals have been estimated to cost the state between $200 million and $833 million. remember, he is pleading poverty. new jersey's republican governor wants to spend $200 million on tax cuts to business. remember, we're broke. not to be outdone, florida's
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republican governor wants to spend $1.5 billion on tax cuts for corporations. michigan's republican governor wants to spend $1.8 billion on business tax cuts. and of course in wisconsin republican governor scott walker, his giveaways to business, his first actions as governor are projected to cost the great state of wisconsin nearly $140 million. and remember, we are broke. this is some spectacular generosity toward some very specific parts of society among these governments that are pleading poverty complaining about giant state budget deficits. and states do have budget deficits. but all of these giveaways i just described are things that will make those deficits worse. all the beltway media reporting on the fight in the states is about how governors are making hard choices taking controversial steps to close their budget deficits but all of these things they are doing open budget deficits wider. they make the budget problems in all these states worse and they bend over backwards to do it. the people who are not benefiting from the republican
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generosity in the states are the ones facing the cuts. in georgia the legislature looking at cutting funding to the state university system by about $75 million. pennsylvania's republican governor proposing a more than 50% cut to that state's higher education system. in new jersey and south carolina republican governors want to drastically cut medicaid benefits. in arizona the republican governor's budget would get rid of health care for 100,000 poor people. just in case anybody even tries to make a case this is all ideological, just about republican opposition to taxes and opposition to spending, consider that in most of these state is not only are republican governors or legislatures trying to cut things like public education and social services they are also overtly raising taxes on poor people. we've got tax hikes on the elderly and on low income residents in michigan. also republicans in kansas and in wisconsin are talking about effectively raising taxes on the working poor. in georgia house republicans are talking about raising taxes on groceries. also, they're talking about
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ending a tax break for blind people. that's up for grabs in georgia right now. raising taxes on the blind. and just to spread the pain around in maine the republican governor's proposed bounlgt raise property taxes for the middle class. this is not some sort of policy double speak, right? this is republicans proposing tax increases. i keep hearing that what republicans are doing in the states is about closing the budget gaps. when you give away hundreds of millions of dollars to businesses, when you give those away as state revenues, that makes your budget problem worse, not better. and every time the national media reports these states that are giving these huge tax giveaways to businesses as closing the budget gap, they are wrong. every time we hear this is an ideological opposition to taxes among these republican governors and legislatures you got to ask what you believe about tax cuts, tax increases